Concerned about the Safety of Essential Oils?

For me, the number one question I get asked is, are essential oils safe to ingest? 

And then there are stories on the internet trying to scare people from using essential oils around pets. 

Here are answers to some of your questions about the safety of essential oils. And stay tuned, this is part one of my three-part series!

Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade

dōTERRA CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®) essential oils can be used safely by your family for a variety of wellness applications. However, there are several safety guidelines that you should follow when using essential oils and essential oil products. More on CPTG here.

  1. Be sure to use only pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils and follow all label warnings and instructions.
  2. If redness or irritation occurs when using essential oils topically, apply a carrier oil – such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil – to the affected area. Do NOT use water (this will further intensify the sensation of the oil).
  3. Essential oils should not be used in the eyes, inside the ear canal, or in open wounds. In the event of accidental contact with the eye, dilute with carrier oil NOT water.
  4. Do NOT consume an essential oil internally unless labeled with a Supplement Facts box with specific dietary supplement, use instructions, and warnings.
  5. Discontinue the use of an essential oil if you experience severe skin, stomach, or respiratory irritation or discomfort.
  6. When using on children, apply a very small amount of the oil to test skin or other sensitivity. Do not use oil on a child’s hand as they may transfer to their eyes or mouth.
  7. Consult your physician before using essential oils if you are pregnant or under a doctor’s care or have other safety questions regarding essential oils.

It is important to remember that therapeutic-grade essential oils are highly-concentrated plant extracts and should be used with reasonable care. Consulting with someone who has experience with essential oils will make your first experience with essential oils more enjoyable and rewarding.

As you learn how to use essential oils through personal experience, share your knowledge with others in a safe and responsible way and encourage others to do the same.

Oil Applications

Essential oils are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends in one of three methods: aromatic, topical and internal.

Aromatic and Topical application are always the first line of defense and most effective way to derive the therapeutic benefits from the essential oils. Internal ingestion of oils should be done carefully, with caution, after familiarizing yourself with safe practices.


Essential oils, when diffused, can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also cleanse and purify the air. Low or no-heat essential oil diffusers are recommended as they do not change the chemical structure of the oil being diffused.

Diffusers manufactured for use with essential oils emit a cool mist (they do not heat up the oils).

Humidifiers and other similar devices are not intended for use with essential oils and the oils may damage the components of that machine.

Most diffusers come with instructions indicating how many drops of oil should be use – the typical amount ranges from 2-3 drops for a small diffuser to 6-8 drops for a diffuser with a large reservoir.


Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and many can be safely applied topically when used in conjunction with a carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil. Topical application of essential oils can have immediate, localized benefit to the target area of application.

The chemical structure of essential oils also allows them to be absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin for internal benefit throughout the body. Oils should typically be diluted with a carrier oil prior to applying to the skin (see below, Diluting Essential Oils for details).

Before applying the oil to sensitive skin or children’s skin first perform a “skin patch test” – apply the diluted essential oil (dilute at 5% with carrier oil) and dab a small amount on a small patch of skin.

Watch for redness, irritation, itching, swelling. If irritation occurs, do not use that oil. A mild reaction will resolve on it’s own quickly.

  • Baths – Many oils should NOT be used in a bath due to potential skin sensitivity.  Consult a certified Essential Oils Coach before using essential oils in the bath
  • Photosensitivity – Skin should not be exposed to sunlight or tanning beds for 12-18 hours, if any of the following oils are used topically: Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Bergamot, or Wild Orange.


Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. Some oils have powerful antioxidant properties while others help support healthy inflammatory response in cells.

Many essential oils are generally regarded as being safe for dietary use, but some should not be taken internally. Oils that are not Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade should not be ingested. To identify oils that can be taken internally look for the dietary supplement facts on its label and/or refer to the quick reference chart below.

As noted above, internal ingestion of oils should be done with caution and after familiarizing yourself with safe practices. Less is more. It is advised that you rule out topical & aromatic uses of the oil prior to resorting to ingestion.

Click here to see/print the recommended application methods for each oil or blend.

Diluting Essential Oils

Benefits: Using a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil increases the surface absorption, enhances absorption through dry skin, and prevents skin sensitivities.

To dilute an essential oil you add it to a “carrier” or “base” oil. Determining when and how to dilute is a personal decision that should be based on usage preferences, oil chemistry, and personal sensitivity. Use the “Essential Oil Dilutions” charts below as guidelines.

What is a carrier oil? A lipid-based substance such fractionated coconut oil & pure vegetable oils- grapeseed, almond, avocado, etc. Vegetable oils are unstable and go rancid quite easily. Fractionated Coconut Oil is preferred because it is stable at all room temperatures and environments, it is non-aromatic, and therefore does not alter the aromatic properties of essential oils. See list of carrier oils here


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    Essential Oil Safety |

    Leann Forst, MBA, CHC, CEOC — Holistic Health Practitioner

    Leann is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Essential Oils Coach. She holds a Master’s degree from Drake University and a Bachelor of Science from Upper Iowa University. Accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, Leann is an award winning author of 2 books How to Get Your Kids to Beg for Veggies and 100 Ways to Lose Weight”.

    Born and raised as an Iowa farm girl, she moved to Texas in 1998 where she lives with her husband and 2 kids.

    As a wife of a brain cancer survivor, Leann has a special interest in anti-cancer nutrition and detoxification. She works with individuals and groups, and speaks regularly at hospitals, schools and organizations. Leann’s goal is to teach people how to attain optimal health by getting to the root cause of chronic and inflammatory conditions, while using healing modalities such as essential oils. Click here to get Leann’s free report, “37 Cancer Facts You Should Know…But Probably Don’t


    Essential Oil Safety from doTERRA

    Dr. Hill on Carrier Oils

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